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Doctrine of equitable tolling of the statute of limitations in California

Equitable tolling of the statute of limitations in the State of California is the topic of this blog post. Under certain circumstances the statute of limitations may be equitably tolled which essentially suspends the time limitation for filing a particular action that would otherwise be time barred. Equitable tolling is a doctrine that has been created by the courts that recognizes some implicit exceptions where a purely technical application of procedural rules would result in a manifest injustice.

For example in one case decided by a California Court of Appeal the Plaintiff’s lawyer was hit by a car and seriously injured. While he was incapacitated, the statute of limitations ran on one of his cases. The statute of limitations was equitably tolled pursuant to Civil Code § 3531 which states: “The law never requires impossibilities.” Lewis v. Superior Court (1985) 175 Cal. App. 3d 366, 380. And the same court also stated that a catastrophic fire or earthquake could also invoke the impossibility grounds, see Lewis supra, 175 Cal. App. 3d at page 378.

Other cases have involved interference. In one case the defendant’s conduct contributed to the plaintiff’s delay in filing his lawsuit. Bollinger v National Fire Ins. Co. (1944) 25 Cal. 2d 399, 411.

And the limitations period is also extended when a person has several legal remedies and, “reasonably and in good faith,” “timely” meaning within the statute of limitations pursues one of them but believing the second “similar” claim is unnecessary or can’t be filed until the first remedy is pursued; and the defendant is not prejudiced because the first claim alerts the defendant to begin investigating the facts which form the basis for the second factually similar claim. Collier v. City of Pasadena (1983) 142 Cal. App. 3d 917, 924-926; see also Myers v. County of Orange (1970) 6 Cal. App. 3d 626, 634.

This blog post contains some very valuable information that just might revive a case where the statute of limitations may be seemingly blown. Future blog posts will discuss other examples of tolling of the statute of limitations in California.

Attorneys or parties in California that would like more information on a super litigation documents package containing over 200 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation can use the link shown below.

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Attorneys or parties in California who wish to view portions of over 300 sample legal documents for use in California and Federal Courts sold by the author can use the link shown here: View over 300 sample legal documents for sale

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents as the owner and creator of LegalDocsPro.

If you enjoy this blog post, tell others about it. They can subscribe to the author’s weekly California and Federal legal newsletter by visiting the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

Copyright 2013 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

These materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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